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Humanities Section => Political/Government General Discussion => Topic started by: Plu on March 13, 2013, 12:11:56 PM

Title: Wealth distribution
Post by: Plu on March 13, 2013, 12:11:56 PM
Lets poke the hornet's nest  :lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... PKKQnijnsM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM)

This video is scary. So, who here is in the mentioned 92% and who isn't?
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: GurrenLagann on March 13, 2013, 02:27:30 PM
I saw that video a few days ago. If it is in fact accurate (I admit I haven't checked his sources yet), then I can't deny that's rather.... I know no other fitting word than terrifying, or maybe shitty.
Title:
Post by: stromboli on March 13, 2013, 03:27:17 PM
All I know is that the people who have got it aren't me.
Title:
Post by: Xerographica on March 15, 2013, 12:11:04 PM
Max Borders posted a critique of this video over at FEE...Wealth Inequality: Predictably Irrational (http://http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/wealth-inequality-predictably-irrational).  Here's the comment that I shared...

Imagine the exact same video but with the word "wealth" or "money" or "income" replaced with "skills" or "talent" or "ability". In a group of 100 people, a few people are going to be a couple standard deviations from the norm. They are going to be either really good looking or really ugly...really tall or really short...really intelligent or really stupid...really talented or really untalented.

The distribution of skills is essential to understanding the most important question: how should we use society's scarce resources?  No matter how you spin it...there's always going to be some people who are going to come up with far better answers. But unlike in the public sector, in the private sector each and every one of us has the freedom to dollar vote for the people who provide the best answers.

For example, imagine there's one kid who throws lemons at passing cars...and another kid who sets up a lemonade stand. They are both answering the question of how society's limited resources should be used.  The market works because we, the people, can use our own dollars to indicate which answer benefits us the most. The result is a distribution of resources that maximizes the amount of benefit we derive from society's limited resources.

On this blog entry...Wealth Equality vs Consumer Sovereignty (http://http://pragmatarianism.blogspot.com/2013/03/wealth-equality-vs-consumer-sovereignty.html)...I shared over 50 relevant passages.  

If you're an advocate of free-markets and had to pick one passage to share with a liberal...which one would you choose? Here's the one passage that I would share...

Quote
The fundamental difference between decision-makers in the market and decision-makers in government is that the former are subject to continuous and consequential feedback which can force them to adjust to what others prefer and are willing to pay for, while those who make decisions in the political arena face no such inescapable feedback to force them to adjust to the reality of other people’s desires and preferences. - Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society (http://http://books.google.com/books?id=YIYu_9ONsU8C&pg=PT75&lpg=PT75&dq=%22The+fundamental+difference+between+decision-makers+in+the+market%22&source=bl&ots=9qT9DaZAV8&sig=3OFeGmjGyUPOxCjjKwua7N2t020&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NgE4UfX8C5LPqQHM9IDADA&ved=0CFEQ6AEwBA)
If you're a liberal and had to pick one passage that you disagreed with the most...which passage would you pick?
Title:
Post by: Colanth on March 15, 2013, 01:55:46 PM
Congress doesn't pass laws that take good looks (or skill or talent or ability) from one person and give it to another person, because the second person gives a tiny fraction of the new good looks to the congresscritters.  They do with money.
Title:
Post by: Davka on March 15, 2013, 04:01:28 PM
History tells us that whenever the vast majority of wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority, the majority suffer as a result. No amount of free-market bullshit can change that.

The system that appears to work best is a combination of socialism, regulated semi-free markets, and democracy. So far, this has only been implemented in a handful of nations, mostly in Northern Europe. It works.
Title: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 15, 2013, 04:43:16 PM
Quote from: "Davka"
History tells us that whenever the vast majority of wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority, the majority suffer as a result. No amount of free-market bullshit can change that.
Let's see...there was WWII.  Was that a result of a free-market?

Quote
As was noted in Chapter 3, expressions of malice and/or envy no less than expressions of altruism are cheaper in the voting booth than in the market.  A German voter who in 1933 cast a ballot for Hitler was able to indulge his antisemitic sentiments at much less cost than she would have borne by organizing a pogrom. - Geoffrey Brennan, Loren Lomasky - Democracy and Decision (http://http://books.google.com/books?id=I3mal2inJQgC)
Then there was the Great Leap Forward (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Leap_Forward).  That was most definitely the result of a command economy.

The greatest man-made disasters were a direct result of people not having the freedom to shop for themselves.  Why is consumer sovereignty so important?  Because people have the freedom to give valuable feedback on how society's limited resources are used.

Quote
In the terminology of anticapitalism the words selfish and unselfish are used to classify people from the point of view of a doctrine that considers equality of wealth and income as the only natural and fair state of social conditions, that brands those who own or earn more than the average as exploiters, and that condemns entrepreneurial activities as detrimental to the common weal. To be in business, to depend directly on the approval or disapproval of one’s actions by the consumers, to woo the patronage of the buyers, and to earn profit if one succeeds in satisfying them better than one’s competitors do is, from the point of view of officialdom’s ideology, selfish and shameful. Only those on the government’s payroll are rated as unselfish and noble. - Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (http://http://mises.org/page/1470/Human_Action_HTML)
Quote
The consumers are not prepared to satisfy anybody’s pretensions, presumptions, and self-conceit. They want to be served in the cheapest way.  - Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (http://http://mises.org/page/1470/Human_Action_HTML)
Quote
The capitalist society is a democracy in which every penny represents a ballot paper.  It is a democracy with an imperative and immediately revocable mandate to its deputies.  It is a consumers' democracy. By themselves the producers, as such, are quite unable to order the direction of production. This is as true of the entrepreneur as of the worker; both must bow ultimately to the consumers' wishes. And it could not well be otherwise. People produce, not for the sake of production, but for the goods that may be consumed. As producer in an economy based on the division of labour, a man is merely the agent of the community and as such has to obey. Only as a consumer can he command.  - Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (http://http://mises.org/page/1470/Human_Action_HTML)
Free-markets are all about consumer sovereignty...so when you disagree with how a market distributes wealth...if you think the concentration of wealth causes the majority to suffer...then you have to blame the majority.  

Why do you have to blame the majority?  Because the majority of consumers do not evenly distribute their money.  Why don't they do so?  Because they're not crazy.  Producers don't all provide the same exact value...some provide more value than others.  Therefore, consumers give their money to whichever producers give them the most benefit for their dollar.  

So if you want wealth to be more evenly distributed...then go after the majority.  Convince them not to shop around for the most value.  Persuade them to ignore price tags.  Tell them not to worry about getting ripped off.  Explain to them how we'll all be better off if they don't reward the producers that maximize their benefit.

Tell them what you know to be true...that just like God...government planners are omniscient.  They know what's best for us.  We should put our lives in their hands.  

Tell them that the preference revelation problem (http://http://pragmatarianism.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-preference-revelation-problem.html) isn't a real problem.  While you're at it...tell them that unicorns, Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy are all real.  Also, be sure to tell them that orchids won't grow outdoors in Los Angeles (http://http://www.atheistforums.com/viewtopic.php?p=926923#p926923).
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Davka on March 15, 2013, 06:03:04 PM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Quote from: "Davka"
History tells us that whenever the vast majority of wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority, the majority suffer as a result. No amount of free-market bullshit can change that.
Let's see...there was WWII.  Was that a result of a free-market?
Could you be a bit more obtuse, please? And make up some strawman arguments, while you're at it?

Let's take a look at what I wrote, shall we? I wrote "History tells us that whenever the vast majority of wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority, the majority suffer as a result." Now, did I specifically say that the free market is always the cause of such wealth concentration? No, I did not. Did I blame the free market for the concentration of wealth, or claim that the free market is the cause of all suffering? Um - no. Didn't say that, either.

So your response appears to have absolutely fuck-all to do with what I actually wrote.

Huh.
Title:
Post by: Davka on March 15, 2013, 06:10:12 PM
As to how more even distribution of wealth is accomplished, the answer is simple: Progressive Taxation. During the 1950s and 60s, wealth in America was far more evenly distributed. Why? Because tax rates were far more progressive. Result? Economic mobility, a thriving middle class, low unemployment.

For an example of what happens when the market is only very loosely regulated, we need only look at the late 19th century and early 20th. Child labor, robber barons, company stores, crippling and even deadly working conditions, eventual economic collapse.

Command economies don't work. Communism doesn't work. An unregulated (or under-regulated) free market doesn't work. Extremists are fools. And that goes for the economic and political extremists, as well as the religious ones.
Title: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 15, 2013, 06:21:24 PM
Quote from: "Davka"
Command economies don't work. Communism doesn't work. An unregulated (or under-regulated) free market doesn't work. Extremists are fools. And that goes for the economic and political extremists, as well as the religious ones.
Command economies don't work?  Do you really not understand that we have a mixed economy?  We have a market in the private sector and a command economy in the public sector.  

So yeah, I completely agree that command economies do not work.  And I know exactly why they fail...do you?  They fail because of the preference revelation problem.  Is the preference revelation problem a real problem?  

If you don't believe that the preference revelation problem is a real problem...then there's absolutely no reason for you to say that command economies don't work.  So which is it?
Title:
Post by: SvZurich on March 15, 2013, 10:37:03 PM
Madame Guillotine is thirsty.   :popcorn:
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Davka on March 16, 2013, 04:45:54 PM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Quote from: "Davka"
Command economies don't work. Communism doesn't work. An unregulated (or under-regulated) free market doesn't work. Extremists are fools. And that goes for the economic and political extremists, as well as the religious ones.
Command economies don't work?  Do you really not understand that we have a mixed economy?  We have a market in the private sector and a command economy in the public sector.  

So yeah, I completely agree that command economies do not work.  And I know exactly why they fail...do you?  They fail because of the preference revelation problem.  Is the preference revelation problem a real problem?  

If you don't believe that the preference revelation problem is a real problem...then there's absolutely no reason for you to say that command economies don't work.  So which is it?
I reject your premise. Command economies don't work because the concentration of power/money in the hands of a tiny elite always ends in disaster.

And yes, I understand that we have a mixed economy. The current economic mess is the result of ~40 years of the wealthy elite fighting tooth-and-nail to decrease the socialist components of our economy, disassemble progressive taxation, and deregulate the markets. They depend on the gullibility of fools who think that by fighting for the "rights" of the top 0.01%, they are somehow protecting their own rights, and making it more likely that they, too, will one day join the elite.

In reality, of course, you have a far better chance of winning the lottery than you do of significantly changing your economic caste. But that carrot looks so very enticing that many people will fight like hell for the chance to chase it, never stopping to wonder who is holding the stick.

(http://http://www.acclivityperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/carrot-and-stick-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 16, 2013, 05:15:14 PM
Quote from: "Davka"
I reject your premise. Command economies don't work because the concentration of power/money in the hands of a tiny elite always ends in disaster.
You reject the preference revelation problem?  Why?

Quote from: "Davka"
And yes, I understand that we have a mixed economy. The current economic mess is the result of ~40 years of the wealthy elite fighting tooth-and-nail to decrease the socialist components of our economy, disassemble progressive taxation, and deregulate the markets. They depend on the gullibility of fools who think that by fighting for the "rights" of the top 0.01%, they are somehow protecting their own rights, and making it more likely that they, too, will one day join the elite.
First you said that command economies concentrate power in the hands of a tiny elite...but now you're saying that the current economic mess is a direct result of the wealthy elite fighting socialist components.  Why would the elite fight against something that benefits them?  

Quote from: "Davka"
In reality, of course, you have a far better chance of winning the lottery than you do of significantly changing your economic caste. But that carrot looks so very enticing that many people will fight like hell for the chance to chase it, never stopping to wonder who is holding the stick.
In a market economy...consumers hold the stick...which is exactly why it's the demand that determines the supply.  

You think that government planners, like God, know what's in our best interests...  

"Trust in government planners with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding"

That's a recipe for disaster.  Why?  Because government planners are not omniscient.  They don't know what the actual demand is for public goods.  As a result there will be a significant discrepancy between supply and demand.  This means that society's limited resources will be wasted on things that we really don't need at the expense of things that we really do need.    

Again, to be clear, my premise is the preference revelation problem.  If you reject my premise then explain why you believe that government planners are omniscient.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Davka on March 16, 2013, 10:16:10 PM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Quote from: "Davka"
I reject your premise. Command economies don't work because the concentration of power/money in the hands of a tiny elite always ends in disaster.
You reject the preference revelation problem?  Why?
No, I reject your premise that the only two choices are to state that command economies do not work because of the preference revelation problem or to state that command economies do work. That's an absurd position to take. Things are never black-and-white in the real world, only in theory.

Quote
Quote from: "Davka"
And yes, I understand that we have a mixed economy. The current economic mess is the result of ~40 years of the wealthy elite fighting tooth-and-nail to decrease the socialist components of our economy, disassemble progressive taxation, and deregulate the markets. They depend on the gullibility of fools who think that by fighting for the "rights" of the top 0.01%, they are somehow protecting their own rights, and making it more likely that they, too, will one day join the elite.
First you said that command economies concentrate power in the hands of a tiny elite...but now you're saying that the current economic mess is a direct result of the wealthy elite fighting socialist components.  Why would the elite fight against something that benefits them?
Different elite.

Take a look at Tsarist Russia. Their economy sucked, but not because it was a command economy. It was a very free market, with the money/power concentrated in the hands of an elite few. The Communist Revolutions in Russia did not change the degree of concentration of wealth/power,  it merely changed in whose hands the wealth and power was concentrated. The Tsarist aristocracy fought the communists for the same reason that today's Western aristocracy fights socialism. Those in power want to stay in power. They don't want to hand over the reins to a new elite, nor do they want to be forced to share.

And your automatic coupling of socialism with a command economy, and conflating of the elite in a capitalist society with the elite in a communist society, honestly makes me wonder if you actually want to understand a word I'm saying.

Socialism as practiced in the West does not concentrate power or wealth in the hands of the few. Socialist Democracy is a completely different animal from communist totalitarianism.

The concentration of power in the hands of 0.01% of Americans is unsustainable. When very few people are taking half the pie, and those at the bottom are living on crumbs, something is very, very wrong.

Quote
You think that government planners, like God, know what's in our best interests...  
How the FUCK do you know what I think?

Instead of playing mind-reader, try asking. You're making a buttload of assumptions, most of which are way off.

Seriously, nothing I'm saying is really all that difficult. Most 4-year-olds can grasp the concept. Only extensive brainwashing in the voodoo that is economic theory could possibly make something so very simple seem opaque.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: GurrenLagann on March 17, 2013, 02:48:51 AM
To say that command economies work, or simply laxing basically all regulations on businesses will better the economy is to ignore much of the last century or so. Well, that made me chuckle as much as when I heard of the "trickle-down" economic proposition. In the satiric words of Bill Maher: "When you increase my taxes government, you make me feel less likely to 'invest'. *sad face*"
Title: Re:
Post by: AxisMundi on March 18, 2013, 10:27:46 AM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
....If you're an advocate of free-markets and had to pick one passage to share with a liberal...which one would you choose? Here's the one passage that I would share...

Define "free-market".

There is the well regulated Free Market of the past, where companies were urged to keep jobs in the US through tariffs, taxes and such. Where workers enjoy some level of protection from easily, and cheaply, corrected hazards, and unfair business practices from their employers.

When our economy was strongest, it was regulated.

Then there is the modern "conservative" ideal of a "free market", which in actuality is a "free-for-all" market. Jobs fly overseas, simple and inexpensive safety equipment/procedures are set aside to add a few more cents to a company's profits, and predatory lending takes hold.
Title: Re:
Post by: Brian37 on March 18, 2013, 10:55:37 AM
Quote from: "Davka"
History tells us that whenever the vast majority of wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority, the majority suffer as a result. No amount of free-market bullshit can change that.

The system that appears to work best is a combination of socialism, regulated semi-free markets, and democracy. So far, this has only been implemented in a handful of nations, mostly in Northern Europe. It works.

Hold on now, what would be the opposite of a "free market"? The part people miss is no matter an open market or closed market, a centralized power or monopoly can arise and it takes money to maintain that power. Stalin, Hitler, Iran's theocracy and China's slave labor market are all forms of monopolies.

It isn't the "free market" that is bad, it is the lack of anti monopoly inforcement. Gadaffi was a free market capitalist too, he was a billionaire and owned stock in GE.

Instead of a totalitarian concentration of wealth we have a class monopoly. But this is global corporatism doing this. I am not about to disown private business outright because of the size of the bullies. It is not all or nothing.

What needs to happen isn't getting rid of mom and  pop shops, or private business. What needs to happen globally is an attitude change. There are 3 main industries causing worldwide most of our problems. Banks, Oil and weapons.

In a "revolt" people confuse the outcome as being better than what caused it. That is simply not true. What lead to the Russian revolution, was centralized wealth, but simply got replaced by the monopoly of the wealth of the political party in communism.

Simply having a revolt does not mean the outcome cant be gamed in the same manor that caused the revolt in the first place. As soon as more people see it as a human condition issue and not a political or religious label issue, then the monopoly can be broken and still allow for an open market.

But I do agree, once again when you strip the bullshit ideology and politics and cut to the core of our human behavior, it still boils down to evolution. Even in other mammals and other species for that matter, if the alpha male becomes abusive, the subordinates if they can ever get a chance, and sometimes do, will turn on that alpha male. It is a natural instinct to survive, and that is simply what life is about.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 18, 2013, 07:17:48 PM
Quote from: "Davka"
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Quote from: "Davka"
I reject your premise. Command economies don't work because the concentration of power/money in the hands of a tiny elite always ends in disaster.
You reject the preference revelation problem?  Why?
No, I reject your premise that the only two choices are to state that command economies do not work because of the preference revelation problem or to state that command economies do work. That's an absurd position to take. Things are never black-and-white in the real world, only in theory.
There aren't a lot of options here...either you agree that the preference revelation problem is a real problem...or you do not.  Which is it?  

Quote from: "Davka"
Socialism as practiced in the West does not concentrate power or wealth in the hands of the few. Socialist Democracy is a completely different animal from communist totalitarianism.
There aren't a lot of options here either...either you shop for yourself or somebody else shops for you.  If we went to a restaurant...we either order for ourselves or one of us orders for the other.  We could certainly elect somebody else to order for both of us...but we still have the same situation where somebody else is ordering for us.

When other people order for us we end up with the preference revelation problem.  So again, is the preference revelation problem a real problem?

Quote from: "Davka"
The concentration of power in the hands of 0.01% of Americans is unsustainable. When very few people are taking half the pie, and those at the bottom are living on crumbs, something is very, very wrong.
How many people did it take to make Michael Moore a millionaire?

Quote
I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do. That's pretty good, isn't it? - Michael Moore
The market works because of consumer sovereignty.  When a multitude of consumers place their money in the same pair of hands...then wealth becomes concentrated.  But was that the consumers' original intent?  Do people who spend their money on Moore's movies do so because they want him to be "filthy rich"?

When a consumer buys products...how often do they know how wealthy the producers of those products are?  Have you ever personally not purchased a product solely because the producer was too wealthy?  If so, what product was it?  

Quote from: "Davka"
How the FUCK do you know what I think?

Instead of playing mind-reader, try asking. You're making a buttload of assumptions, most of which are way off.
LOL...in case you missed it...I believe that the preference revelation problem is a real problem.  In other words, I'm certain that government planners are not omniscient.  I'm not omniscient either...which is why I've been asking you whether you believe that the preference revelation problem is a real problem.

In case you missed it...here's my blog entry on the topic...the Preference Revelation Problem (http://http://pragmatarianism.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-preference-revelation-problem.html).  Look over the passages and let me know whether you agree with them or disagree with them.  If you disagree with them...then copy and paste exactly which passage you disagree with and explain why you think it's wrong.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 18, 2013, 08:03:50 PM
Quote from: "AxisMundi"
Then there is the modern "conservative" ideal of a "free market", which in actuality is a "free-for-all" market. Jobs fly overseas, simple and inexpensive safety equipment/procedures are set aside to add a few more cents to a company's profits, and predatory lending takes hold.
When jobs fly overseas...who do we blame?

A. the consumer for wanting less expensive products
B. the American worker for wanting higher wages
C. the producer for wanting larger profits
D. all of the above  

In each case, the individual was simply trying to maximize their utility.  In other words, we all want the most bang for our buck.  

In a free-market, we're all free to shop around for the best deals.  Consumers, producers and workers can all try and avoid getting ripped off.  They all have the freedom to say "no thanks" when confronted with lemons.  

For example, here I am trying to sell you pragmatarianism.  If you don't think it's a valuable product...then you can say "no thanks".  Except, what I'm trying to sell to you is the importance of your freedom to say "no thanks".  So it's bittersweet when people say "no thanks" to pragmatarianism.  

Given that we can't say "no thanks" in the public sector...many times we end up having our tax dollars spent on public goods which do not match our preferences.  For example, pacifists end up having to pay for war.  This is known as the forced rider problem.  It's the inevitable consequence of compulsory taxation.  And why do we have compulsory taxation?  Because of the free-rider problem.  And why is there a free-rider problem?  Because people are utility maximizers.  

Public goods, such as national defense, are collective...so it's difficult, if not impossible, to prevent somebody from enjoying the benefits.  As a result, because people are utility maximizers, it's rational for people to expect that others will pick up the tab for national defense.  They could have all of the benefits of national defense at none of the cost.  But if nobody picked up the tab...or too few people picked up the tab...then we wouldn't have enough national defense and everybody would suffer as a result.

So we resort to forcing everybody to pick up a portion of the tab.  But this doesn't tell us your preferences for public goods.  Why?  Because somebody else is ordering for you.  Maybe it wasn't somebody you voted for.  Maybe it was somebody you voted for...but they aren't ordering what they said that they were going to order.  

The bottom line is that government planners are not omniscient.  They don't know what your true preferences are.  Without knowing the actual demand for public goods, it's impossible for them to supply the optimal amounts of public goods.  This is known as the preference revelation problem.  The solution is to create a market in the public sector and give taxpayers the freedom to shop for themselves.  They will use their own tax dollars to communicate their preferences (demand).  

Would they lie about their preferences?  Why would they?  The cost is a foregone conclusion.  Because they are utility maximizers, they will try and get the most bang for their tax dollars.  They will say "no thanks" to nonsensical uses of their tax dollars.  As a result, over time, the supply of public goods will better match taxpayers' preferences.  In other words, the allocation of society's resources will become more efficient.  We won't end up with too much national defense and not enough public healthcare.  Therefore the outcome will be the balance of public goods that maximizes society's benefit.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Rejak on March 18, 2013, 09:17:42 PM
Xerographica  Other posters in this thread have referred to real life examples of regulation of markets working for the benefit of the most people. ( Finland Norway Sweden Iceland USA under the new deal ect. ) And its failure to work when that regulation was not implemented or dismantled. Like 19th century America and Europe. USA after dismantling the new deal reforms that were supposed to prevent another Great Depression. If you could provide some real life examples where this "free Market" ideology has actually worked for most people for any length of time you might gain some credibility. Just spouting the same old tired "free market " propaganda the republicans have been selling for the last 40 years is not going to convince anyone with more than a couple neurons to rub together. The only society I know of that has been produced by the free market is one Charles Dickens would write about
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on March 18, 2013, 09:56:43 PM
Quote from: "Rejak"
Xerographica  Other posters in this thread have referred to real life examples of regulation of markets working for the benefit of the most people. ( Finland Norway Sweden Iceland USA under the new deal ect. ) And its failure to work when that regulation was not implemented or dismantled. Like 19th century America and Europe. USA after dismantling the new deal reforms that were supposed to prevent another Great Depression. If you could provide some real life examples where this "free Market" ideology has actually worked for most people for any length of time you might gain some credibility. Just spouting the same old tired "free market " propaganda the republicans have been selling for the last 40 years is not going to convince anyone with more than a couple neurons to rub together. The only society I know of that has been produced by the free market is one Charles Dickens would write about
Where have I said anything about getting rid of regulations?  A regulation is simply a rule and we obviously need rules.  What's unfortunately less obvious is that the cost of a rule should not exceed its benefit.

Right now, according to the federal government, marijuana is illegal.  But does the cost of this rule exceed the benefit?  How can we possibly know that when voters do not have to put their own dollars where their mouths are...

Quote
As was noted in Chapter 3, expressions of malice and/or envy no less than expressions of altruism are cheaper in the voting booth than in the market.  A German voter who in 1933 cast a ballot for Hitler was able to indulge his antisemitic sentiments at much less cost than she would have borne by organizing a pogrom. - Geoffrey Brennan, Loren Lomasky   Democracy and Decision (http://http://books.google.com/books?id=I3mal2inJQgC)
Quote
The technology for reducing the number of plane crashes in this country is available.  All we have to do is to treat every plane as though it were Air Force One.  But, if we did, how many would be willing to pay the prices to fly from their hometown to Chicago? - Richard B. McKenzie, Bound to Be Free (http://http://books.google.com/books?id=dHI2I5m0sZ0C)
Again we get into the downside of utility maximization.  Why not vote for something that benefits you if somebody else has to bear the cost?  How is this not the free-rider problem?

So please don't attack arguments that I'm not making.  The argument that I'm making is that the preference revelation problem is a real problem.  Feel free to attack that.
Title:
Post by: Brian37 on March 18, 2013, 10:39:36 PM
Quote from: Xerographica
In each case, the individual was simply trying to maximize their utility. In other words, we all want the most bang for our buck.

Thanks for the update, because that makes TONS of fucking sense.

Yes you are RIGHT, all classes DO want the most for their buck.

But here is where your mental slight of hand DOES NOT WORK.

America's OIL production, NOT IMPORTS, but what WE produce is at an 8 YEAR HIGH. So if more supply is supposed to create lower prices, then why is gas still expensive?

The problem with what you claim is you forget that the global market is RIGGED, not competitive. Competition does NOT have to mean a race to the bottom.

If WE all want a bang for our buck, then why is it only the rich get more for their buck and the rest of us get less while working more for less?

This isn't about "getting more for your buck" this is about big money and global industry bastardizing and exploiting the bulk of our global economic majority. It rigs the game and sells utopias rather than do what business used to do, which was BUILD AND PROVIDE, not get involved in a dick measuring contest within it's own weight class.
Title: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 18, 2013, 11:08:52 PM
Quote from: "Brian37"
This isn't about "getting more for your buck" this is about big money and global industry bastardizing and exploiting the bulk of our global economic majority. It rigs the game and sells utopias rather than do what business used to do, which was BUILD AND PROVIDE, not get involved in a dick measuring contest within it's own weight class.
Quote
Those who think that central planning will promote economic progress are naive.  When business enterprises get more funds from governments and less from consumers, they will spend more time trying to satisfy politicians and less time satisfying customers.  Predictably, this reallocation of resources will lead to economic regression rather than prosperity. - James Gwartney and Richard Stroup, What Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity (http://http://books.google.com/books/about/What_Everyone_Should_Know_About_Economic.html?id=3S6TBjhhwvEC)
In case you missed it...what I'm advocating is taxpayer sovereignty.  Why?  Because it would solve the preference revelation problem.  Do you want to address the preference revelation problem?
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Rejak on March 18, 2013, 11:10:41 PM
I would concede the point that the preference revelation is a problem but I don't think it is the problem.You seem to assume that the government body responsible for spending our tax dollars are concerned with our preferences. I think the reality is they are more concerned about the preferences of the people who have the most money to spend on lobbying. So we get back to wealth distribution. The people with the most money to spare on lobbying get the rules changed so they can make more money so they can afford more on lobbying and it just spirals out of control. For example the private prison industry lobby writes anti immigration legislation for Arizona that puts a lot more people in jail.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on March 18, 2013, 11:28:52 PM
Quote from: "Rejak"
I would concede the point that the preference revelation is a problem but I don't think it is the problem.You seem to assume that the government body responsible for spending our tax dollars are concerned with our preferences.
The preference revelation problem is that government planners do not know what our true preferences are.  If they don't know what the actual demand is for public goods, then they can't provide the optimal supply.  Please (re)read the passages on my blog entry...the Preference Revelation Problem (http://http://pragmatarianism.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-preference-revelation-problem.html).

Quote from: "Rejak"
I think the reality is they are more concerned about the preferences of the people who have the most money to spend on lobbying.  So we get back to wealth distribution. The people with the most money to spare on lobbying get the rules changed so they can make more money so they can afford more on lobbying and it just spirals out of control. For example the private prison industry lobby writes anti immigration legislation for Arizona that puts a lot more people in jail.
The solution to the preference revelation problem is to allow taxpayers to choose where their taxes go.  What's the difference between taxpayers shopping for themselves and lobbying?  Taxpayers are simply consumers.  Do consumers all have the same preferences?  Do you and I purchase the same exact private goods?  Would you and I spend our taxes on the same exact public goods?
Title:
Post by: Seabear on March 18, 2013, 11:31:51 PM
This reminds of what the church used to tell poor people: "you are poor because God wants you to be poor." And then follow it with the idea that being poor is noble, somehow.

Is the same today. The people making all the money are somehow smarter, more skilled, and more deserving. And this would be true, if the it were a fair and level playing field. But it's isn't. Oh, maybe in the middle class. All the middle class folks competing with each other for jobs and careers.

But the crooks on Wall Street, that shit will never change. You are either in the club or you aren't. And, you aren't. And you never will be. It doesn't matter how smart you are or how hard you work or how much education you get. But this is what they want you to believe.

Now I don't believe in wealth redistribution. But it's getting harder to argue that it's unfair when there are so many stories of flagrant corruption in the high echelons of the financial industry. I'd just like to be angle to believe its a level playing field.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: GurrenLagann on March 19, 2013, 12:07:02 AM
*Reads above posts* Eh, my head hurts now. I'll pray for it to go away.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: AxisMundi on March 19, 2013, 07:36:41 AM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Quote from: "AxisMundi"
Then there is the modern "conservative" ideal of a "free market", which in actuality is a "free-for-all" market. Jobs fly overseas, simple and inexpensive safety equipment/procedures are set aside to add a few more cents to a company's profits, and predatory lending takes hold.
When jobs fly overseas...who do we blame?

A. the consumer for wanting less expensive products
B. the American worker for wanting higher wages
C. the producer for wanting larger profits
D. all of the above  

In each case, the individual was simply trying to maximize their utility.  In other words, we all want the most bang for our buck.  

In a free-market, we're all free to shop around for the best deals.  Consumers, producers and workers can all try and avoid getting ripped off.  They all have the freedom to say "no thanks" when confronted with lemons.  

For example, here I am trying to sell you pragmatarianism.  If you don't think it's a valuable product...then you can say "no thanks".  Except, what I'm trying to sell to you is the importance of your freedom to say "no thanks".  So it's bittersweet when people say "no thanks" to pragmatarianism.  

Given that we can't say "no thanks" in the public sector...many times we end up having our tax dollars spent on public goods which do not match our preferences.  For example, pacifists end up having to pay for war.  This is known as the forced rider problem.  It's the inevitable consequence of compulsory taxation.  And why do we have compulsory taxation?  Because of the free-rider problem.  And why is there a free-rider problem?  Because people are utility maximizers.  

Public goods, such as national defense, are collective...so it's difficult, if not impossible, to prevent somebody from enjoying the benefits.  As a result, because people are utility maximizers, it's rational for people to expect that others will pick up the tab for national defense.  They could have all of the benefits of national defense at none of the cost.  But if nobody picked up the tab...or too few people picked up the tab...then we wouldn't have enough national defense and everybody would suffer as a result.

So we resort to forcing everybody to pick up a portion of the tab.  But this doesn't tell us your preferences for public goods.  Why?  Because somebody else is ordering for you.  Maybe it wasn't somebody you voted for.  Maybe it was somebody you voted for...but they aren't ordering what they said that they were going to order.  

The bottom line is that government planners are not omniscient.  They don't know what your true preferences are.  Without knowing the actual demand for public goods, it's impossible for them to supply the optimal amounts of public goods.  This is known as the preference revelation problem.  The solution is to create a market in the public sector and give taxpayers the freedom to shop for themselves.  They will use their own tax dollars to communicate their preferences (demand).  

Would they lie about their preferences?  Why would they?  The cost is a foregone conclusion.  Because they are utility maximizers, they will try and get the most bang for their tax dollars.  They will say "no thanks" to nonsensical uses of their tax dollars.  As a result, over time, the supply of public goods will better match taxpayers' preferences.  In other words, the allocation of society's resources will become more efficient.  We won't end up with too much national defense and not enough public healthcare.  Therefore the outcome will be the balance of public goods that maximizes society's benefit.

The only thing you can shop around in when you have no job is garbage cans.

And if you want an example, just look at the economic booms I grew up in during the past 50 years. Now look at each Republican held administration since Reagen. One sees all economic indicators droop when the "free-for-all market" types begin deregulation.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 19, 2013, 10:55:28 PM
Quote from: "AxisMundi"
The only thing you can shop around in when you have no job is garbage cans.

And if you want an example, just look at the economic booms I grew up in during the past 50 years. Now look at each Republican held administration since Reagen. One sees all economic indicators droop when the "free-for-all market" types begin deregulation.
Again and again, I have nothing against regulations.  Clearly we need rules.  Except, just like it's possible to have not enough rules...it's also possible to have too many rules.  If there are too many rules then freedom will be restricted and if freedom is restricted then jobs are not going to be created.  If there aren't enough jobs then more people are going to shop around in garbage cans.  

So what is the optimal amount of rules that we should have?  That depends on allowing each and every person to consider the trade-offs.  If you want more environmental regulation...then you should be willing to pay for more environmental regulation.

Quote
One aspect of public goods that prevents the government making efficient decisions is the government's lack of knowledge of households' preferences and willingness to pay for public goods. - Gareth D. Myles, Public Economics (http://http://books.google.com/books?id=2jtvmYDrhoQC)
How does it benefit society as a whole if the government supplies too much national defense and not enough environmental regulation?  We'll have both needless wars and global warming.  

Allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go will reveal what they are willing to pay for government regulations.  The demand for regulations will determine the supply of regulations.  That's how we'll ensure that we'll have an optimal amount of rules.  With the optimal amount of rules we'll maximize freedom and minimize the amount of people digging through garbage cans.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: The Non Prophet on March 22, 2013, 04:01:24 PM
If you think about how little some people make, sometimes pennies an hour for hard labor, these rich fucks could save millions of years tenfold and they don't. Billionaires need to spread the wealth or what is the point of keeping them around? to flash around their 98% of the wealth that 2% get? circulate the money better or the system will collapse. For example, I think Oprah could give away half her money (about 25 billion or whatever) and be fine for many lives if she had 9 lives.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: NatsuTerran on March 22, 2013, 11:58:35 PM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Quote from: "AxisMundi"

Allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go will reveal what they are willing to pay for government regulations.  The demand for regulations will determine the supply of regulations.  That's how we'll ensure that we'll have an optimal amount of rules.  With the optimal amount of rules we'll maximize freedom and minimize the amount of people digging through garbage cans.

This premise of your argument falls apart once you realize that individuals have no clue what is best for them. The government is not omniscient about what people need, no, but they are an organized group that, at the very least, has more insight into what people's needs on a whole actually are. You don't seem to share this line of thinking because the word "needs" does not even process in your head it appears. Your argument only makes sense if there are only "wants" that our money and taxes go towards, and there are no needs.

 Let's say that we keep a progressive tax rate, but instead of having your taxes simply be "x" amount going toward the govt., which then decides to allocate the pool of resources, let's say you can fill out a form and send your tax money to whichever programs you would like to support. I'm assuming this is the kind of thing you are talking about in regards to fixing the preference revelation problem, which is at least how it sounded in your blog. This is already much smarter than how most right wing economists would lay it out, who would prefer if there wasn't a "tax pool" that had an amount you had to pay. But would rather the person be able to choose whether to spend any at all on public goods.

Anyways, say we as individuals just decide to allocate how much we already would have spent on taxes anyways, to particular areas we deem fit, what might happen? The first problem is the free rider problem. Someone pays their $30 for the EPA to get support, but another person doesn't, yet they each get the same benefit. That's bullshit.

Second, you're expecting way, WAY too much from people to actually sit down and intelligently try and allocate resources. A person could have logical fallacies in their head that guide their process, which inevitably leads to the wrong choices. For instance, many people suffer from the fundamental attribution error, and don't quite understand causal responsibility, so they would likely just cut ANY AND ALL tax support that would go towards people other than those like themselves. They wouldn't pay for school support because they aren't in school. They wouldn't pay for certain regulations because either that regulation hinders them (for good reason) or they are not affected either way.

You give the example of two kids, one throwing lemons at cars and one selling them. But is this supposed to be glorified? I believe in the no-harm principle. Any action or inaction that causes more harm on a macro scale (taking into account means and ends) should not be allowed. Why should we allow people to make harmful choices whenever it infringes on people's *needs?* Granted, if a choice infringes on a person's wants, it's a different story. Happiness and how we find it is subjective, so I am completely libertarian when it comes to our expendable income. But our needs must be distinguished, which is something libertarians never seem to be capable of.

You at least agree with me that regulation/rules are a good thing for society to have, but that we need to be able to know if the ends justify the means for any given policy. If we give people choice votes for their taxes, I can picture a great deal of things that they would stop supporting. This may be due to preference, but it may also be due to ignorance or even apathy. There's only so much time in the day and an individual can be vigilant about so much. This is why I side with the government in determining our needs. They have a division of labor set up to explore such ideas that goes well beyond an individual's experiences. The individual's experience could lead them to saying "I don't have time or care for this, I'll just pile the money onto one thing that sounds nice and go home." There are also things that the majority would support that indisputably cause more harm than good. This is something I'm very sensitive to as a psychologist. So many people have the fundamental attribution error going on in their heads, that they likely have the attitude of letting people make their own choices in everything, and if severe harm results they just blame the victim. It's a fallacy because it doesn't understand how external factors are responsible for people's brains, rather than the individuals themselves. Nature and nurture, genes and experience, act as the catalysts, but people still are content to blame the victims, and develop a just-world hypothesis of not caring about anyone down on luck. This attitude, when taken into the chosen tax example, would quite clearly lead to more objective harm as people only care about themselves and those in similar situations.

I think the main problem is you are comparing utility maximization on the real market in terms of how people use their expendable income to have fun, and conflating that with what we as a society absolutely MUST have to function. The government knows nothing about what makes us happy as individuals, so they should stay out of our decisions in terms of how we spend disposable income or what we do in our free time. The government has some knowledge and ideas about what a society's needs are, which is pieced together from a variety of components. There's academic economic studies and research. There's moral implications that stem from psychology/neuroscience (no just-world/free will is an illusion). And there's a variety of cause/effect relationships that are researched which can provide insight into what outcomes will occur on a *macro* level if a law or something is changed.

Putting those onto the layman is a pretty bad idea from my standpoint. The layman doesn't satisfy the division of labor. Lay people are not economists, their ideas about the economy are either culturally conditioned or armchair ruminations about what they think makes sense. Lay people don't understand counter-intuitive aspects of cognitive psychology; see how religion persists to this day. See how they still somehow think things like your own beliefs or even your sexual preferences are somehow "choices," and it's no wonder they would extend that train of thought to think being in the upper .01% or not would likewise be a choice, and therefore it is perfectly acceptable to blame you for whatever predicament you end up in. And lay people don't have much, if any, research into understanding what changes occur on a macro level if a certain law is implemented or revoked. This is why things like the gun debate exist. Nobody knows outside of personal experience or "party line/brainwashing articles" which stimuli predict what. Personal experience doesn't show what happens on the macro level, as a general rule. It shows what happened to you once, and is likely to be wrong. There's also, again, armchair ruminations about what a person's intuitive ideas are on the subject, but these are extremely likely to be flawed. People use the term common sense to defend their intuitive rationalizations, but everyone's sense of intuition is different. One person thinks one thing makes sense, and another person thinks the opposite. And understand a cause/effect relationship on a macro level is not going to lend itself to common sense thinking. For instance: "I was spanked and I turned out fine", or "My parents never spanked me and I turned out fine." I'd trust a more scientific approach that studies what is, and now what we think to be so. Let's face it, common sense has been wrong so many times in the past. And what might people be relying on when they vote for the general public's needs? Their blanket intuitions and experiences, with maybe a slight piece of the puzzle taken from their own area of expertise.

Government certainly is not omniscient, and in some issues they may be just as clueless as the dumbass citizens, but the division of labor that gains expertise in different avenues (which turn around and act as advisers), the goal-oriented nature of trying to make policies that support a populace on a macro level rather than individuals who may fall prey to the "good for me, bad for all" problems, and otherwise just more big-picture thinking and a focus on the entire equation of people's well-being rather than utility maximazation on an individual level (which is evil because it just throws people's well-being to nature's whim) all makes me put more trust in a govt than solitary citizens.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on March 23, 2013, 01:42:52 PM
Quote from: "NatsuTerran"
This premise of your argument falls apart once you realize that individuals have no clue what is best for them. The government is not omniscient about what people need, no, but they are an organized group that, at the very least, has more insight into what people's needs on a whole actually are. You don't seem to share this line of thinking because the word "needs" does not even process in your head it appears. Your argument only makes sense if there are only "wants" that our money and taxes go towards, and there are no needs.
If you go to a restaurant with a child...if they could order for themselves perhaps they would just order dessert...so you order for them.  But are taxpayers children?  Are taxpayers the least responsible people in our society?  They became taxpayers by consistently making irresponsible decisions?  

If society maximizes its benefits by having elected personal shoppers in the public sector...then there is no preference revelation problem and we would maximize our benefit by having personal shoppers in the private sector as well.  Why?  Because, just like God, they know our preferences better than we do.    

The market works because whether or not a producer truly knows what's best for me is ultimately up to me.   I get the last word.  I have the freedom to say "no thanks" to the people who try and sell me things that they are certain that I "need".  In other words, the market works because it's all about consumer sovereignty.  

Here I am trying to sell you consumer sovereignty and here you are saying "no thanks".  Clearly you value being able to say "no thanks" and clearly you have no idea how important easy "entry" and "exit" are to determining the most beneficial uses of society's limited resources.  

Is pragmatarianism the crazy train?  Should you have the freedom to decide whether you ride it or not?  Is this the only crazy train?  Does the private sector somehow have more crazy trains than the public sector?   Is war ever a crazy train?  

Quote from: "NatsuTerran"
Anyways, say we as individuals just decide to allocate how much we already would have spent on taxes anyways, to particular areas we deem fit, what might happen? The first problem is the free rider problem. Someone pays their $30 for the EPA to get support, but another person doesn't, yet they each get the same benefit. That's bullshit.
The free-rider problem is people simply trying to get the most bang for their buck...aka utility maximization.  It's logical that we all want to pay the least amount of money for the goods/services that we value.  That's why we shop around for the best deals.  If, rather than give their $30 to the EPA, a taxpayer gives it to public healthcare, then clearly they derive more value from increasing the supply of healthcare.  They think public healthcare is a better deal than public protection of the environment.  Maybe they're making a mistake... and maybe they know something that you don't.  

Markets allow resources to flow to where they create the most value simply because we have the freedom to spend our time/money on the things that we value most.  In other words, markets give us the freedom to communicate what our priorities are.  Resources cannot be efficiently allocated without this information.  You think government planners have access to this information...and/or their information is superior...and this faulty thinking is directly responsible for the greatest man made disasters throughout history.  

Quote from: "NatsuTerran"
Second, you're expecting way, WAY too much from people to actually sit down and intelligently try and allocate resources. A person could have logical fallacies in their head that guide their process, which inevitably leads to the wrong choices. For instance, many people suffer from the fundamental attribution error, and don't quite understand causal responsibility, so they would likely just cut ANY AND ALL tax support that would go towards people other than those like themselves. They wouldn't pay for school support because they aren't in school. They wouldn't pay for certain regulations because either that regulation hinders them (for good reason) or they are not affected either way.
A "mistake" diminishes your influence over how society's limited resources are used.  Society generally considers it a "mistake" to drop out of school.  Why?  Because you'll earn less and earning less diminishes your influence over how society's resources are used.  Do some people make more mistakes than other people?  Obviously.  So why would we want people who make the most mistakes to have more influence?  Why would we want to send more of society's limited resources the wrong direction?  We don't...which is why we use our hard earned dollars to reward the people who are using society's limited resources in ways that maximize our benefit.      

Quote from: "NatsuTerran"
You give the example of two kids, one throwing lemons at cars and one selling them. But is this supposed to be glorified? I believe in the no-harm principle. Any action or inaction that causes more harm on a macro scale (taking into account means and ends) should not be allowed. Why should we allow people to make harmful choices whenever it infringes on people's *needs?* Granted, if a choice infringes on a person's wants, it's a different story. Happiness and how we find it is subjective, so I am completely libertarian when it comes to our expendable income. But our needs must be distinguished, which is something libertarians never seem to be capable of.
Eh?  The  point of the example was to illustrate that there are numerous ways of using the same resource.  Clearly some ways are more beneficial than other ways.  There is a continuum...that runs from the least beneficial use all the way to the most beneficial use.  The market works because we all can use our dollars to communicate which uses benefit us the most.  That's the only way producers can truly know which uses are the most beneficial.  Is it glorious to use society's limited resources in their most beneficial ways?  Well...yeah.  Because there's nothing glorious, or beneficial, about wasting society's limited resources.  

Quote from: "NatsuTerran"
You at least agree with me that regulation/rules are a good thing for society to have, but that we need to be able to know if the ends justify the means for any given policy. If we give people choice votes for their taxes, I can picture a great deal of things that they would stop supporting. This may be due to preference, but it may also be due to ignorance or even apathy. There's only so much time in the day and an individual can be vigilant about so much. This is why I side with the government in determining our needs. They have a division of labor set up to explore such ideas that goes well beyond an individual's experiences. The individual's experience could lead them to saying "I don't have time or care for this, I'll just pile the money onto one thing that sounds nice and go home." There are also things that the majority would support that indisputably cause more harm than good. This is something I'm very sensitive to as a psychologist. So many people have the fundamental attribution error going on in their heads, that they likely have the attitude of letting people make their own choices in everything, and if severe harm results they just blame the victim. It's a fallacy because it doesn't understand how external factors are responsible for people's brains, rather than the individuals themselves. Nature and nurture, genes and experience, act as the catalysts, but people still are content to blame the victims, and develop a just-world hypothesis of not caring about anyone down on luck. This attitude, when taken into the chosen tax example, would quite clearly lead to more objective harm as people only care about themselves and those in similar situations.
Again and again, rather than making the mistake of dropping out of school...you stayed in school to become a psychologist.  You gave up momentary pleasure for future benefit and your income reflects how much other people value how you are using society's limited resources.  And how you spent your taxes would reflect your valuable and unique perspective on where there's the most room for improvement in the public sector.  

So why would you make responsible decisions in the private sector but not in the public sector sector?  Do you have split personality disorder?  Are you Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?  You know the difference between wants/needs when it comes to your "private" dollars but as soon as you have to decide how to spend your "public" dollars Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs goes right out the window?  In the private sector your locus of control is internal...but in the public sector it suddenly becomes external?  Your self-efficacy dissolves?  Fine, just like you're more than welcome to put your own life in God's hands, you're certainly more than welcome to put your own life in congress's hands.  Be my guest.  But please be respectful enough to allow me to make that decision for myself.  Let me decide for myself whether I'm a believer or an atheist.

There's no heaven...but heaven on earth is simply a matter of having the freedom to spend our own time/money on the things that make earth a closer match to our own perspectives on what heaven would be like.  Each spending decision is an attempt to bring the two into closer alignment.  The more you take away people's spending decisions...the more earth becomes the opposite of heaven.  

To make a long story short...there is no optimal without you.
Title:
Post by: Sal1981 on March 23, 2013, 06:34:29 PM
I don't live in the U.S. but in an European nation. The wealth (inequal) distribution has been affecting the economies of the whole world, since economies nowadays, for the most part, (barring a certain Stalinist regime) cross borders, barring whatever protectionism which exists (tariffs or whatever). Here the story repeats itself, wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, leaving the majority scraping to get by.

---

Me? I'm against the whole concept of money. Ideally there shouldn't even be any hoarding of wealth, but since people being people, scrounge to themselves whatever they can.

It should be towards a more old concept: bartering for goods and services, in the very least. No money, just whatever people wish to barter for. Ideally, money should just be a middleman for bartering; a promise to redeem it later for a goods or service. But this clearly isn't how it works, currently.

That's why I've I subscribe, in part, to the Technocrats vision of wealth. That we calculate the energy, the Joules, produced and socialistically distribute credits based on net energy production to the population. This changes the game of wealth entirely.

It's not that complex, basically we calculate how much energy we produce and use, and designate surplus energy as a marker for wealth. The calculation itself would take some serious number crunching (how much does a nuclear reactor produce, how much crop yield is there, that sorta thing), but would at most be more or less an estimate on how much energy is available to us.

Here's the ringer, credits expire. Since energy isn't some tangible thing, it would be annual. You'd get credits based on net production divided by the number of population. It would serve as money traditionally, but since it expires, no meaningful hoarding of credits could take place. Second, credits are assigned each to a certain citizen, so stealing credits becomes meaningless. It's not perfect, some flaws could be bartering credits for some other valuable (land or gold or whatever) and barter back after an expiration date.

There's a shitload more to Technocracy, and I'm merely scratching the surface of how credits would work.
Title:
Post by: NatsuTerran on March 25, 2013, 06:58:20 PM
I'm not going to respond point by point, but there are a couple things that I think you are seriously unable to comprehend.

"If you go to a restaurant with a child...if they could order for themselves perhaps they would just order dessert...so you order for them. But are taxpayers children? Are taxpayers the least responsible people in our society? They became taxpayers by consistently making irresponsible decisions? "

Libertarians always seem incapable of understanding things in a grey area. Let's look at some choice words here.

"are taxpayers children?" -Implying they are equivalent to children in terms of understanding.
"are taxpayers the LEAST responsible?" - Again, a statement of absolutes.
"became taxpayers by.. making irresponsible decisions?" Assuming that making responsible decisions makes you *responsible* in all aspects.

You really didn't understand what I said. There is not a "responsible" person and "irresponsible" person. There is a gradient. Children are not very knowledgeable about their needs, as you acknowledged. Likewise, we do not give them very many responsibilities. Adults can be said to be more responsible, but this does NOT extend to an absolute that they can therefore handle an infinite supply of responsibilities. They could become taxpayers by being responsible about making decisions *in that regard.* But they could be irresponsible in other areas of life that are crucially important. Just like a scientist could no a lot about their field but be very ignorant about other aspects of life that impact them. I am merely pointing out that there is no magical change in children and adults in terms of capability to be responsible in their decisions. It slowly adapts and shifts towards what they are capable of. I believe in holding individual burdens in check by the government.

Also, you've got to stop making "God" analogies. I find quite a bit in common with religion and libertarianism, notably the notion of free will and unlimited capabilities of individuals. But I don't mention anything about it.

"A "mistake" diminishes your influence over how society's limited resources are used. Society generally considers it a "mistake" to drop out of school. Why? Because you'll earn less and earning less diminishes your influence over how society's resources are used. Do some people make more mistakes than other people? Obviously. So why would we want people who make the most mistakes to have more influence? "

I really, really don't comprehend this part at all. And that really speaks to me as to how different our ways of thinking truly are. How does a mistake diminish your influence? How are people who make the most mistakes going to have more influence? Is this suggesting that lower income people would, under liberalism, have more money to voice their opinion over? Are you honestly insinuating that lower income people are "higher mistake makers?" and that higher income people are "lower mistake makers?" That's just sickeningly wrong. Someone has to fill the low tier jobs, and lower tier work does not at all reflect more mistakes. Or are you trying to say people who make mistakes would die off somehow, and fulfill a sickening goal of natural selection? Completely ignoring the moral issues, it wouldn't work because taxes go to public sector goals, which can turn around and bite anyone if they aren't fulfilled. But again, I really don't even understand what you were saying so my pre-rebuttals could be off the mark.


"So why would you make responsible decisions in the private sector but not in the public sector sector?"

I just explained this. What is so hard to understand about responsibility NOT being an on/off switch? Seriously this is getting aggravating. It's as simple as there being A LOT to know when it comes to making decisions in the public sector. You just COMPLETELY IGNORED the entire paragraph that you were rebutting. I went on and on about how, on the macro scale, there is a LOT of stuff to be vigilant about. Stuff that most Americans are ill-equipped to deal with not because we are irresponsible but because we are only able to be responsible about SO MUCH. There isn't an on/off switch, stop thinking in absolutes like a child. People have a limit to how many burdens can be placed on them. I make better decisions as they apply to my life because those decisions 1. Are easier for me to grasp as they directly relate to me, and 2. Don't apply to my needs on a macro scale which would require a much greater deal of foresight and exploration of a variety of subjects in order to comprehend.

"There's no heaven...but heaven on earth is simply a matter of having the freedom to spend our own time/money on the things that make earth a closer match to our own perspectives on what heaven would be like. Each spending decision is an attempt to bring the two into closer alignment. The more you take away people's spending decisions...the more earth becomes the opposite of heaven. "

And it's things like this that make right-wing economics synonymous with a business-worshiping, money-grubbing cult. Well-being is the only thing that matters. Believe it or not, a boosted economy is not a straight line answer to getting there. You could use your money in ways that might make you think you will be happier, but overall it makes you less happy. And again, you are ONLY looking at luxury and not necessity. It's like you see all money as expendable income, and don't assume that there must be a safety net that you should not go under. Even your example of mistakes had to deal with money, in terms of dropping out of school. That's not the kind of thing I had in mind at all. I can't further discuss this unless you actually weigh a sense of collective morals alongside a boosted GDP.
Title:
Post by: Xerographica on March 25, 2013, 08:20:01 PM
NatsuTerran, right...a scientist knows a lot about his specific field but is ignorant of most other fields.  This is the division of labor concept.  But it's logically absurd to make the giant leap from the division of labor concept to a command economy...or as I refer to it as..."non sequitur economics".  The scientist primarily knows about rocket science...therefore...an elected official should decide how the rocket scientist spends his money?  The elected official should determine exactly how much money the rocket scientist spends on doctors, lawyers, housing, food, clothing, travel and entertainment?  That's absurd.  The market works because it's up to the scientist to decide for himself exactly how much of his own money he spends on products/services.  What's so difficult to understand about supply and demand?  

Regarding morality...do you think Mr. Scientist here has no moral code?  Is he completely amoral?  Is that why allowing him to choose where his taxes go somehow diminishes the influence of society's collective morals?  How can you have ethical consumerism if people aren't given the freedom to shop for themselves?  Pragmatarianism would produce far superior results because it would incorporate the true weight of everybody's morals.  

If you think a war is morally superior, then you'd have the opportunity to put your taxes where your morals were.  If you thought that a war was morally objectionable...then you'd have the freedom to boycott it.  What's difficult to understand about the importance of ethical consumerism?  

Regarding mistakes...how do you go from some people making more mistakes than other people to eugenics?  If you quit your day job and go to Hollywood to become an actor...would it be a "mistake"?  If it was a "mistake"...as determined by consumers...then you should be taken out of the gene pool?  Can you construct a more ludicrous straw man?    

In case you missed it...I'm not a libertarian...I'm a pragmatarian.  My goal isn't to kick most of the responsibilities of the government over to the private sector.  My goal isn't to decrease the amount of taxes that people pay.  My goal is simply to allow taxpayers to shop for themselves in the public sector.  Unlike yourself, I don't see people as liberals or conservatives...people's preferences/concerns/interests aren't black and white...they are shades of grey.  If taxpayers were allowed to shop for themselves then the supply of public goods would conform to the incredible diversity of people's true preferences.

Just like Mr. Scientist doesn't like wasting his money on defective products in the private sector...he wouldn't like wasting his tax dollars on defective goods/services in the public sector.  Whether we're talking about helping the poor or protecting the environment...consumers want results.  When they can shop for themselves they choose to pay the people who use society's limited resources to produce the best results.  What's so difficult to understand about how markets function as an essential feedback mechanism?  

In case you missed it...the question we're trying to answer here is how should we use society's limited resources.  Markets give consumers the freedom to support the producers who provide the best answers.  Non sequitur economies produce absurd results simply because consumers aren't given the freedom to spend their money on the products/services that most closely match their preferences.
Title:
Post by: Special B on June 09, 2013, 10:20:25 PM
Unregulated free markets... the lie sold by to rich to the stupid... and defended by the gullible.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: AllPurposeAtheist on June 09, 2013, 10:51:13 PM
Ehem...
A friend just gave me this t-shirt..
(http://http://i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q490/atheola/2013-06-09223836.jpg)
I'd say it applies here. :-k
Title:
Post by: Jason78 on June 10, 2013, 05:02:17 AM
Quote from: "Davka"
History tells us that whenever the vast majority of wealth/power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority, the majority suffer as a result. No amount of free-market bullshit can change that.

And then you end up with "job creators" like Walmart paying their staff peanuts and expecting government welfare to pick up the slack.
Title:
Post by: Validus on June 10, 2013, 06:30:24 AM
Well I see little has changed in the years I've been away.  :)
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: zarus tathra on June 13, 2013, 01:08:37 PM
History shows that the rise of mass warfare coincided with the rise of republican government, that democracy coincides with increased government control over the lives of the populace. It was not until the French Revolution came along that the government was bold enough to destroy the institutions that stood in the way of truly absolutist government. Notice how there wasn't a Napoleon until after the Revolution? That's not a mistake.

Read "The Anti-Capitalist Mentality" and anything by Alexis De Tocqueville.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Colanth on June 13, 2013, 11:32:28 PM
Julius Caesar?  Nero?  Absolutist government isn't a new idea.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: zarus tathra on June 17, 2013, 08:30:25 AM
Julius Caesar advocated massive grain distribution programs. He was a left-wing dictator. The Roman Empire had more than a million living on government food near the end of its life.
Title: Re:
Post by: Brian37 on June 17, 2013, 05:06:48 PM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
Max Borders posted a critique of this video over at FEE...Wealth Inequality: Predictably Irrational (http://http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/wealth-inequality-predictably-irrational).  Here's the comment that I shared...

Imagine the exact same video but with the word "wealth" or "money" or "income" replaced with "skills" or "talent" or "ability". In a group of 100 people, a few people are going to be a couple standard deviations from the norm. They are going to be either really good looking or really ugly...really tall or really short...really intelligent or really stupid...really talented or really untalented.

The distribution of skills is essential to understanding the most important question: how should we use society's scarce resources?  No matter how you spin it...there's always going to be some people who are going to come up with far better answers. But unlike in the public sector, in the private sector each and every one of us has the freedom to dollar vote for the people who provide the best answers.

For example, imagine there's one kid who throws lemons at passing cars...and another kid who sets up a lemonade stand. They are both answering the question of how society's limited resources should be used.  The market works because we, the people, can use our own dollars to indicate which answer benefits us the most. The result is a distribution of resources that maximizes the amount of benefit we derive from society's limited resources.

On this blog entry...Wealth Equality vs Consumer Sovereignty (http://http://pragmatarianism.blogspot.com/2013/03/wealth-equality-vs-consumer-sovereignty.html)...I shared over 50 relevant passages.  

If you're an advocate of free-markets and had to pick one passage to share with a liberal...which one would you choose? Here's the one passage that I would share...

Quote
The fundamental difference between decision-makers in the market and decision-makers in government is that the former are subject to continuous and consequential feedback which can force them to adjust to what others prefer and are willing to pay for, while those who make decisions in the political arena face no such inescapable feedback to force them to adjust to the reality of other people’s desires and preferences. - Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society (http://http://books.google.com/books?id=YIYu_9ONsU8C&pg=PT75&lpg=PT75&dq=%22The+fundamental+difference+between+decision-makers+in+the+market%22&source=bl&ots=9qT9DaZAV8&sig=3OFeGmjGyUPOxCjjKwua7N2t020&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NgE4UfX8C5LPqQHM9IDADA&ved=0CFEQ6AEwBA)
If you're a liberal and had to pick one passage that you disagreed with the most...which passage would you pick?

Who is arguing "skills"? Or banning all in equity? Not me. But it is bullshit to argue that the private sector cannot be as abusive as a political party or a religion, all are run by humans and subject to corruption.

If you think the free market is so damned good without government ask the Bangladesh factory workers who died last month. Ask the Chinese sweat shop workers who are bullied by both their government and big business into working 16 hour days 6 days a week for almost nothing.

I really get sick of both the left and right missing the bigger picture. ANY ANY ANY monopoly of power will lead to abuse. I am for a free market, not a free for all market. Ayn Rand economics is as bad as Stalin's economics.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Brian37 on June 17, 2013, 05:10:45 PM
Oh and when a "lefty" like me quotes a billionaire like Nick Hanour who says "More money in the worker's pockets is better for everyone". And when I point out companies like COSTCO who pay livable wages and allow unions, I get no credit.

It is a bullshit lie that the left is against a free market. We are against abuse of power and monopolies. Our wage gap is killing us and our economy is nothing but a race to the bottom.
Title: Re: Re:
Post by: Xerographica on June 18, 2013, 03:59:56 AM
Quote from: "Brian37"
Who is arguing "skills"? Or banning all in equity? Not me. But it is bullshit to argue that the private sector cannot be as abusive as a political party or a religion, all are run by humans and subject to corruption.
And who is arguing that the private sector is perfect?  In case you missed it, I'm a pragmatarian...not an anarcho-capitalist.  

Quote from: "Brian37"
If you think the free market is so damned good without government ask the Bangladesh factory workers who died last month. Ask the Chinese sweat shop workers who are bullied by both their government and big business into working 16 hour days 6 days a week for almost nothing.
Again...I'm a pragmatarian...not an anarcho-capitalist.  

Quote from: "Brian37"
I really get sick of both the left and right missing the bigger picture. ANY ANY ANY monopoly of power will lead to abuse. I am for a free market, not a free for all market. Ayn Rand economics is as bad as Stalin's economics.
Yeah, I also hate it when people on the left and right miss the big picture...which is why I'm a pragmatarian.  

So the question is...why aren't you a pragmatarian?  Why don't you want taxpayers to choose where their taxes go?  Is it because you've never heard of the preference revelation problem?
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Plu on June 18, 2013, 04:02:39 AM
Oh damnit. Why did you have to bring this idiot back :(
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on June 18, 2013, 04:22:25 AM
Quote from: "Plu"
Oh damnit. Why did you have to bring this idiot back :(
It's been a while...but did you ever acknowledge that the preference revelation problem is a real problem?
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Plu on June 18, 2013, 04:23:04 AM
Yes, but that doesn't change your lack of a working solution for it.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on June 18, 2013, 04:26:30 AM
Quote from: "Plu"
Yes, but that doesn't change your lack of a working solution for it.
The preference revelation problem is a real problem...but allowing taxpayers to shop for themselves (reveal their preferences) in the public sector is not the solution?
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Plu on June 18, 2013, 04:31:06 AM
Nope. But that's been explained to you a million times and you refuse to think about what you're actually suggesting, so I'm not going to reiterate it.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: DunkleSeele on June 18, 2013, 04:35:01 AM
Quote from: "Xerographica"
The preference revelation problem is a real problem...but allowing taxpayers to shop for themselves (reveal their preferences) in the public sector is not the solution?
(http://http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/1188/12611440650874507914.gif)
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on June 18, 2013, 04:42:55 AM
Quote from: "Plu"
Nope. But that's been explained to you a million times and you refuse to think about what you're actually suggesting, so I'm not going to reiterate it.
The preference revelation problem means that the government supplies the wrong quantities of public goods.  Why are the quantities wrong?  Because they don't accurately reflect people's true preferences.  If we want the quantities to be correct, then we should simply allow taxpayers to spend their own tax dollars on the public goods that they want more of.

It's really simple.  The allocation of resources should reflect people's preferences.  In other words, supply should be determined by demand.  The alternative...supply determining demand...is complete nonsense.  

The amount of resources allocated to this forum should reflect the demand for this one use of society's limited resources...not the other way around.    

Where's the difficulty?
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Plu on June 18, 2013, 04:47:41 AM
In all the other responses people made to your crap. Like I said; I'm not going to reiterate it. It's all there. Read. Understand. Refute. Then we can talk.

Anyone, who ever, under any circumstance, looks at something happening in reality, and utters the words "It's really simple", is full of shit. No exceptions.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on June 18, 2013, 04:59:12 AM
Quote from: "Plu"
In all the other responses people made to your crap. Like I said; I'm not going to reiterate it. It's all there. Read. Understand. Refute. Then we can talk.

Anyone, who ever, under any circumstance, looks at something happening in reality, and utters the words "It's really simple", is full of shit. No exceptions.
Shopping/spending is demand and demand is the same thing as "preferences".  If people can't shop then we can't know what the demand is.  If we don't know what the demand is then it's impossible for the correct quantities of any good to be supplied.  If we want the correct quantities of public goods to be supplied...then taxpayers should be allowed to shop in the public sector.  How is it not simple?

And feel free to continue to refer to other people's responses to my arguments.  I'm sure that will win you some points with plenty of people.
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Plu on June 18, 2013, 05:01:37 AM
This is my last post. I'll sum it up for you again.

1) You're a fucking idiot
2) Read all the responses to your previous posts to find out why
3) There is nothing simple about reality.
4) If you disagree with 3), see 1)
Title: Re: Wealth distribution
Post by: Xerographica on June 18, 2013, 05:11:01 AM
Quote from: "Plu"
This is my last post. I'll sum it up for you again.

1) You're a fucking idiot
2) Read all the responses to your previous posts to find out why
3) There is nothing simple about reality.
4) If you disagree with 3), see 1)
Sure reality is complex...yet you're under the impression that 300 congresspeople portray it more accurately than 300 million people could.  Yet you call me an idiot.  That's funny.    

I'm going to guess that you were raised as an atheist.